By Dr. Jaijit Bhattacharya
The year 2023 can very well be summarized by the news of Paytm significantly announcing significant reduction in its workforce as it moves to harness the power of AI for increasing productivity. It captures the developments of the year across technological developments, business implications, societal implications and thus regulatory challenges.
The year started with the world being astonished at the power of Generative AI demonstrated by the LLM based ChatGPT 3.0. Even before they could fully comprehend the technological threshold that has been crossed after more than seven decades since the concepts and algorithms of AI started getting created, the world was hit with ChatGPT 4.0, a significant leap in AI power, in a short period of three months. If this was the new pace of technological upgradation, then the timeline predictions of AI surpassing human intelligence had to be significantly brought forward.
These developments were accentuated with developments in quantum, where clearly using quantum to fuel AI would create formidable technologies. India developed its own 5-qubit quantum computer at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, and is expected to have a 7-qubit computer ready soon. India’s first quantum secure communications link become operational this year between Sanchar Bhawan (Department of Telecommunications) and the National Informatics Centre (NIC)’s CGO Complex in the national capital Delhi.
Direct Satellite to phone communications also made significant strides globally and in India. So did other technologies such as IOT, Metaverse and Web3 including NFT and cryptos, Gaming and hyperscale automation.
Cybercrime & Deepfakes
There was also an exponential rise in cybercrime. And along with a proliferation of Deepfakes based on video and speech. Such technologies also got used for crimes where calls were made in the voice of loved ones and traps were set. With the Indian general elections looming next year, there is a widespread concern over misuse of Deepfakes during the elections and also weaponisation of Deepfakes.
This was also the year that finally saw India adopting the Digital Personal Data Protection bill and India Telecommunications bill, thus providing regulatory clarity on these critical matters. Both were extensively discussed in public over an extended period, before their adoption this year.
2023 witnessed a digital business boom in India, fuelled by the ever-growing internet penetration and smartphone adoption. E-commerce surged. Fintech startups mushroomed, offering innovative financial solutions like micro-loans and insurance. This was the year when UPI transactions crossed 10 billion a month and when CBDC or Digital Rupee got launched. Social commerce took root, blurring the lines between social media and online shopping. With lessons learned and trends solidified, let’s delve into the tapestry of 2023 and weave expectations for the exciting digital odyssey that awaits in 2024.
As we sail into 2024, a continued focus on robust data protection frameworks, cyber security measures, and regulations for emerging technologies like cryptocurrencies is expected. There will also be a greater adoption of AI in India with sector focus such as healthcare, agriculture, services etc. Clearly 2023 is the watershed year for AI and 2024 is when there will be a hockey curve growth in AI adoption across everything imaginable.
The new year will hopefully witness the digital fabric of India is woven with threads of opportunity, equity, and a brighter future for all, but undoubtedly, it will be the year of AI.
This article first appeared in BW Businessworld, https://www.businessworld.in/article/When-AI-Will-Become-All-pervasive/22-01-2024-507162/
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